THE Volkswagen Amarok and Ford Ranger now have serious competition with the next generation LDV T60 Max hitting the market with a new 2.0-litre 4-cylinder bi-turbo diesel powerplant offering 160kW of power and 500Nm of torque.
Delivering maximum power at 4000rpm and peak torque from 1500rpm, the new powertrain is based on SAIC’s first in-house designed bi-turbo diesel engine (the D20).
Its small-block design and electronically controlled, high-pressure common rail technology from Bosch make it one of the most powerful diesel engines in its class.
Mated to a six-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission from ZF, the T60 Max delivers real-world performance just when you need it – like accelerating on to freeways, or overtaking swiftly and safely thanks to its impressive in-gear performance.
The automatic 8-speed ZF gearbox quickly maps and learns driving characteristics ensuring the T60 Max is in the correct gear for the circumstances. Fuel consumption is an impressive 9.2-litres/100km for the manual and 9.3-litres/100km for the automatic.
As with the previous generation, it’s set to be available in two trim levels, Pro and Luxe, with both suspension tunes – heavy duty for the Pro and comfort for the Luxe – specifically calibrated for Australian conditions.
The T60 Max also comes with an intelligent real-time torque on demand system from BorgWarner, which takes the guesswork out of road conditions by delivering maximum traction automatically.
The driver can also manually select high-speed 2WD, high-speed 4WD and low-speed 4WD for tough off-road conditions. This, along with the impressive approach and departure angles, and useful ground clearance make the T60 Max an ideal weekend warrior.
The first T60 secure a coveted ANCAP 5-star safety rating, and this next generation T60 Max continues to lead with a strong suite of passive and active safety measures.
These include six airbags, electronic brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution for braking confidence, and hill descent control for even greater stability on steep slopes.
LED daytime running lights, rear parking sensors and camera, and a fatigue reminder are all standard, while the T60 Max Luxe adds a 360-degree panoramic camera, lane departure warning, and an on-demand rear differential lock for serious mud-plugging.
Inside, the cabin has been refreshed and now boasts a sleek new 10.25-inch central touchscreen complete with Apple CarPlay or Bluetooth smartphone connectivity.
With many of the vehicle’s functions accessed through menus via the touchscreen, the cabin is kept clean and simple. Similarly, the HVAC controls now sit flush under the touchscreen, continuing the clean-cut design.
Cruise control, climate control, and six-way electronically adjustable leather trim seats (in the Luxe) ensure the new T60 Max is as comfortable on your annual family road trip as it is being your daily office.
On the outside, a large grille leads from the front, giving a tough and aggressive stance, while muscular wheel arches frame high-performance alloy wheels. The robust tailgate leaves those behind in no doubt of what they’re following.
To visually distinguish the T60 Max Luxe, it comes with a black front guard and grille, along with chrome door mirrors. Open the tailgate and a spray-in tub liner keeps the bed protected from wear and tear, while four tie-down points help to secure loads.
Payload for the Pro is 935kg (750kg for the Luxe) while both variants are rated up to 3.0 tonnes maximum braked towing. The new T60 Max range starts with the Pro manual at $33,990, followed by the Pro automatic at $35,990.
The Luxe manual kicks off at $38,490 and Luxe automatic at $40,490. All costs are driveaway for ABN holders. All LDV T60s come with a 5-year or 130,000km warranty and 5-years or 130,000km of roadside assistance.
The new T60 Max is more powerful than the market-leading 2.8-litre, 150kW Hilux SR 4×4 and the 157kW Ford Ranger XL Bi-Turbo. It enjoys a massive price advantage over the latter as well, being $20,000 cheaper based on recommended retail pricing.